Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

When Newer is Not Better

Latest correspondence from a large health insurance company that shall remain nameless (except that it's named for a color and a shape):
To achieve a more consistent look for member identification cards nationwide, the Color/Shape Association is requiring all plans to follow new graphic standards for ID cards that will take effect January 1, 2009.
As it happens, we've already begun seeing some of these new cards, and there are definite differences:
  1. The print is smaller.
  2. The numbers are much more difficult to read, because they're printed closer together.
  3. The background is a duller, more matte finish that produces hard-to-read, darker photocopies.
So much for quality improvement.


At Tue Dec 09, 10:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please save us from any more quality improvement measures. Our company is waiting for a visit any day now for a inspection by an organization I'll just refer to as JACKOFF.

I've had to search all over for a nurse to get a bandaid out of a drawer that's locked because there is also BACITRACIN ointment in there (thank god we're saving patients from themselves if they were to snoop in that drawer and get into THAT), I have to print off medication lists for every patient that I then find strewn all over the clinic because they don't want them because a lot of them don't take anything (so much for HIPAA), I'm supposed to memorize when the last fire drill was at each of the clinics I work at...

WTF? I don't think any of this crap will save any patients but it's certainly making me slower at my job. If we spent the money used to prepare for this inspection on people to actually help us do our jobs, we WOULD save lives. Have the people in this organization actually worked in healthcare??

At Tue Dec 09, 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Lynn Price said...

Dino, you think they're making it harder to read so that you'll make a printing mistake, therefore allowing them more time to prevent paying you because you have to resubmit the forms?

At Tue Dec 09, 01:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great. I can expect mine in the mail any day, then.

One of these days, I am going to sharpen the edges of my useless insurance card, drive downtown, and use it as a ninja throwing star.

At Tue Dec 09, 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how much that "quality initiative" cost...

At Wed Dec 10, 07:15:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Former graphic designer here. Clients (like Color/Shape) never give the designer all the relevant details about how the end product will be used, so I doubt whoever redesigned the card gave much thought to problems with photocopying when they set the type or spec'd the card stock.

Also, the client always wants either: 1) too much information on the piece or 2) no white space (which actually makes things easier to read, but which seems to equate to waste in a client's mind).

A lot of projects would be done better if the person executing the change spent time talking with the people implementing/using the end product, but these people are NEVER consulted.

All decisions are made at the corporate level by people (including the designer) who are completely out of touch with the actual client -- in this case the medical office personnel.

At Fri Dec 12, 09:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said anything about 'quality improvement'? It is probably profit improvement - less cost to issue replacement cards that can't be photocopied, less cost because they can delay your claims on account of incorrect ID numbers from the illegible photocopy. Go figure.

At Mon Dec 15, 11:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry. They did that in Buffalo with the Community Blue plan. It lasted one year. They lightened the cards, adjusted the fonts. They don't want to hear the complaints, so complain away! And be sure your staff can use the lighten/enlarge function on the copier if you use paper records. I would train my staff to do online verification during registration, and copy and paste. Took a little longer, but the lack of billing problems paid off. And you were sure they had coverage/ correct insurance.


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